- Sports Staff
Greatest App State Football Moments
This Saturday at 4:00pm, Appalachian State plays ULM on ESPNU. The game marks a special moment in App State Football history, as it's the 1000th game for the program. In celebration of 1000 games for the Mountaineers, the WASU Sports Team decided to compile our greatest moments in this team's history.
7. 2019 Sunbelt Championship
While this wasn't the first Sunbelt Championship, it capped off a very special season for the Mountaineers. They would go on to win the New Orleans bowl against UAB and finish the season with their best record in program history at 13-1, a national ranking of number 20 in the College Football Playoff, and number 18 in the AP Poll. It also marked the 4th Sunbelt Championship in a row, making App State a powerhouse in the conference.
6. 34-31 Victory over UNC
This win most of us got to see in person, it marked the first of two wins against a P5 opponent that season and the first P5 win since 2007 (against you know who). This game solidified what many App State fans already knew: "Neers Baby Best Football in N.C." These two teams are slated to play each other again in 2022 in Kidd Brewer and as far as we are concerned; we still hold the crown as the best program in the state.
5. 2007 FCS National Semifinal
We will never see another player like Armanti Edwards. He is no question the greatest Mountaineer to lace up the cleats, but this game was special. Edwards broke a QB rushing record with 313 yards on the ground, 182 passing yards, and 7 total touchdowns. Coach Jerry Moore said it was the greatest quarterback performance he's ever seen, and we would agree. The Mountaineers won the game 55-35.
4. The (Almost) Upset against Penn State
This game still hurts, but it had us on the edge of our seats the entire time. On September 1st, 2018, the Mountaineer fanbase didn't know what to expect as it was the first game without Taylor Lamb starting in 3 years. This guy Zac Thomas however, proved to be special. Thomas threw for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown to tie the game in the 4th quarter. The Mountaineers scored 28 points in the 4th, and had a 7 point lead with 1:47 left to go. However, TikTok legend Trace McSorley drove Penn State down the field to tie the game. App had a chance to win the game, but missed a 56 yard field goal attempt (it was 4th and 4 with 20 seconds left and a timeout, we still think Satterfield should've went for it). The 'Neers would lose the game in OT and is one of the biggest "what ifs" in App State football history.
3. Miracle on the Mountain
The Rivalry between App State and Furman was legendary, but none top the game on October 12, 2002 in Boone when the Mountaineers beat the Paladins 16-15. The game itself wasn't the prettiest or the most exciting, but the final moments of the game linger on forever. Furman QB (and now ULLLLLLLL coach) Billy Napier led the Paladins on a 73-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Bear Rinehart that gave the Paladins a 15-14 lead. As they say, the rest is history. They went for a two point conversion, but Napier was intercepted at the goal line by Josh Jefferies, he would run it back a couple yards then pitch it to cornerback Derrick Brown, who would take the ball down to the endzone giving the Mountaineers a 16-15 lead and the victory.
2. FCS National Championship 3-peat (2005, 2006, 2007)
It was hard to choose a single National Championship victory for the Mountaineers, so we decided to include all three because they all meant so much to the program. The 2005 season was the first championship for the Mountaineers, beating Northern Iowa 21-16. Jason Hunter secured the win with a scoop and score touchdown in the 4th. In 2006, App State defeated UMass 28-17 in what was a close game until the final quarter, with the Mountaineers outscoring the Minutemen 14-3 in this last minutes of the game. Lastly, in what was a special season for the 'Neers, they dismantled Super Bowl Champion Joe Flacco and the Delaware Blue Hens 49-21 with a dominating performance from Armanti Edwards and Kevin Richardson. App State remains the only school in North Carolina to win a football National Championship.
Upset in the Big House
There was no question that this is the greatest moment in App State Football history. The 34-32 victory over Michigan is considered not only the best upset in College Football, but in all sports. You know how the story goes, the Mountaineers came into the game and "aren't expected to be anything more than sacrificial lambs" as said by the Associated Press. The Mountaineers were such heavy underdogs that Las Vegas didn't even have a betting line for this game. Michigan were National Championship hopefuls, but App didn't waver. The Mountaineers shocked the Wolverines and had a 28-17 lead by halftime, but in the second half, Michigan would show off their skill by leading a fantastic comeback to take the lead 32-31 with 4:36 left in the 4th. After an Armanti Edwards interception, hope looked lost for the Mountaineers, but a 43 yard field goal was blocked (a little bit of foreshadowing) and they had another chance to make history. In a little over a minute, the offense drove 69 yards down the field to set up Julian Rauch for a field goal with :26 left. The Mountaineers had the lead but somehow, Chad Henne managed to make a 46 yard pass to Mario Manningham to set up a game-winning 37 yard field goal. But as you know:
The kick was blocked by Corey Lynch, securing the greatest upset in sports.